Botched penis operations can be avoided — specialist

An estimated one in 300 males are born with the penis defect hypospadias and should be referred to a specialist paediatric urologist within the first six months of birth for corrective surgery.


“About 50% of hypospadias operations done at The Urology Hospital, in Pretoria, are re-do’s of previous unsuccessful operations done elsewhere,” said Dr Izak van Heerden, a paediatric urologist.

“Multiple operations can often be avoided if children with hypospadias are, within six months of birth, referred directly to super-specialists such as paediatric urologists who in some countries are called hypospadiologists,” he added.


Hypospadias is a birth defect in which the urinary opening is not at the usual location on the head of the penis but on the underside. In some instances, the penis is also curved downwards. Both conditions require corrective surgery in order to prevent problems with urination and later on with sexual intercourse.


If the defect is not corrected it may cause physical and emotional trauma. In some instances, males who have not corrected the condition keep it a secret due to the sensitive nature of the subject.


Van Heerden said this can be overcome if parents or medical staff who identify the defect at birth act immediately. He said corrective surgery at The Urology Hospital is highly specialised, safe and on par with the best institutions in the world which conduct these procedures.


“It is also imperative that a circumcision must never be performed if hypospadias is diagnosed as the foreskin is used in the repair,” says van Heerden.


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